But what happens right there.

BFP has been covering this since forever, so I’m going to send you there for the substance. But today is the International Day of Solidarity for Oaxaca. The people there are locked in a struggle to oust the corrupt and brutal governor, Ulises Ruiz. An open letter to the Federal troops occupying the city…

To members of the Federal Preventative Police:

You all are so young, and remind me so much of my children in your age, you color, your features, that if it were another place, in other circumstances, I wouldn’t have any problem approaching you to give you a hug and to comfort you with maternal love, now that you are so far from home, from mom and dad, from your wives and children, in a foreign place. I know how you feel, because a mother always feels for her children, and my children, like all of you, for days, weeks even, have been away from home. “We’re fine, maybe we’ll be by tomorrow”…they say and hang up, or they send little messages that I don’t understand because they write so strangely…I’m sure that you all could be friends: you are all the same age, you have the same features, the same stature, and you all work cell phones so well…

But no, it’s not possible. “My children and I are on this side because we are pueblo, and we are with the pueblo because our morals impel us, and the conditions that we live in demand it of us. On the contrary, you all are with the government of the rich, with the tyranny of the powerful, and you all are their army even though you all, and your children and your wives and your parents are, like us, pueblo.”

If I could take all of your clothes off, if I could take away your clubs, weapons, shells, defenses, and that gray uniform, so ugly, and leave you all as God brought you into this world; with your mestizo skin and black hair, and the marks on your body from malnutrition, and from trying to make a living, trying to eat, you would all realize how similar you are to my children, who have the same lesions that misery has tattooed on their dark skin, that perhaps you all could let yourselves think that you are on the wrong side, fighting against your own, against your equals. And all just to maintain a system that spreads inequality, that makes the rich richer, while it kills the poor with hunger, or hires them at poverty wages to kill those who remain dignified and refuse to die of hunger.

In that aspect you all are so different from my children that it makes me happy. They left their houses to defend their people, their pueblo; you all left yours to defend those in power that violate the pueblo. They left their school uniforms to go and defend the barricades; you all have left yours to try and lift those barricades. They are out from liberty of conviction; you all for this monstrous job? They are fighting for a brighter future, for a democratic, just, fraternal and equal society; on the contrary, you all beat people in order to put bread on the table of your own, bread that is stained with blood. My children are in the street defending their life, armed with reason, their morals, and resourcefulness; you all are out there with machine guns trying to take the lives of those who are defending life itself, profaning Oaxacan ground, without reason, because there isn’t one, and without honor because you all don’t have any.

I haven’t seen my children for days, but I know they are all right; I know that there are other mothers going to the barricades to give them food to eat, and the hug that I can’t give them because I have to work to support the youngest ones; I know there are medics to help them if something happens; I know that they have friends to help them through difficult moments, when the mercenaries pass and shoot at them, and they see death so close; I know that they have their girlfriends at their sides, fighting shoulder to shoulder in the battle, as the equals that they are; I know that when they want to assault them, the neighbors come out to help out; I know that my children are children of the pueblo and that their pueblo are there brothers and sisters, and their mothers, wives and children. It has been days since I have seen my children, but I know that they are all right because they are on the right side, doing what is right, and I feel very proud of them, my children, the thousands of children that were born for me in the early morning hours of June 14th.

I hope that some day your mothers can say the same that I am now saying of my children: that they are proud of you all because you have decided to leave the uniform behind so that your future won’t be as gray as those that you now wear; that the bread that you decide to bring to the table be a product of your own sweat, not of the spilled blood of the workers; that your time in Oaxacan lands be a product of a hospitable visit, not a result of a military operation in disguise, lacking in legality and legitimacy, treasonous and malicious. I feel bad for you and for your mothers, the strange enemies that you have resolved to confront, and to profane my land, my earth, with your boots and your tanks, without ever being able to imagine that the God that never dies gave me an activist in each child. I am sure that we will overcome, that we will triumph, that we will construct a better world for our children and even for yours! That will be our revenge….


The brave and dignified women of Oaxaca

The why you should care is not that globalized labor means that the oppression of people in Mexico can have a direct and negative pressure on American wages, though it can. And it’s not that the Bush administration may get ideas from Fox on how to deal with domestic dissent, though he might.

The why is what happens right now. For Oaxaca, and for you. In the face of such violence, you only have a couple of choices. You can deny that it’s really happening. You can do something about it. You can deny that it’s important.

Guess which one we usually pick here in the States? Not everybody is going to be in a position to do everything, everytime. But there is a violence that you are close to, one that affects you, one that you see, one that you may have the power to interrupt. Speak up, and tell the powers that be, that from this day forth, you will have no part in the shedding of innocent blood.

The attack that our brothers, the people of Oaxaca suffered and suffer cannot be ignored by those who fight for freedom, justice and democracy in all corners of the planet.

This is why, the EZLN calls on all honest people, in Mexico and the world, to initiate, starting now, continual actions of solidarity and support to the Oaxacan people, with the following demands:

For the living reappearance of the disappeared, for the freedom of the detained, for the exit of Ulises Ruiz and the federal forces from Oaxaca, for the punishment of those guilty of torture, rape and murder.

We call to those in this international campaign to tell, in all forms and in all places possible, what has occurred and what is occurring in Oaxaca, everyone in their way, time and place…

Subcomandante Marcos

Note Marcos’ language. All honest people are called to this, because the truth of the world is that evil is happening. Honesty is not a private virtue, my friends.

This isn’t about the long term. This is about what happens right now.